How many credit card applications, fliers and "special offers" does one person really need? The marketing world apparently thinks you need a lot. The average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail every year. Most of it goes to the dump unopened, which is probably why 40 percent of the solid mass in landfills consists of paper and cardboard. Transporting junk mail costs $550 million every year and cities spend another $320 million getting rid of it.

Fortunately, you don't have to settle for a mail box stuffed with coupons you won't use and pamphlets urging you to order more checks with adorable puppies or your favorite Disney character. If you want to put an end to the overflow of junk mail, try one of these options:

41 pounds

41 pounds will reach out to dozens of companies on your behalf to put an end to your junk mail stream. Although the service isn't free, the minimal fee of $35 will stop up to 95 percent of your unwanted mail for five years. It's an easy, one-stop shop to putting an end to junk mail. Plus, 41 pounds will donate $10 of your payment to an environmental organization.

The Direct Marketing Association is the leading trade association for businesses and nonprofit organizations. It represents about 3,600 companies and is responsible for about 80 percent of marketing mail volume in the United States. Opting out of mail from this company will help weed out a good chunk of your junk mail. Through the company's opt-out service,, you can manage the mail you receive. You can choose to opt out of all direct mail from the company or pick and choose which kind of offers you want delivered to your mail box. Best of all, opting out won't cost you a thing.

To get rid of pre-approved credit card or insurance offers, you'll need to visit The site is a joint effort between the four major consumer credit reporting companies — Equifax Information Services, Experian Information Solutions, Innovis Data Solutions and TransUnion — to allow you to opt-in or opt-out of special offers from creditors and insurers. Through the site, you can choose to opt out for five years or permanently.

Looking for more ways to cut your waste? Visit our Learning Center.

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